Clemson football: How the Tiger defensive backs have used boxing gloves to improve in coverage

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was tired of watching his defensive backs be penalized for pass interference. In search of a fix during the offseason, he turned to an idea from one of the most hallowed names in coaching — and from another sport.

This year, Swinney has made his defensive backs wear boxing gloves during practice.

In his weekly media conference Tuesday, Swinney explained that he got the idea from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

“I figured he’s a pretty smart guy,” Swinney said. “If it’s good enough for him, it would be good enough for us.”

While wearing the gloves, a defensive back can’t grab a receiver’s jersey. Swinney said that forces defensive backs to get into the habit of running alongside receivers rather than using their hands to slow them down.

“We force them to win with their feet where they cannot rely on grabbing,” Swinney said.

Swinney said the Clemson defense “led the world” in pass interference penalties last season. The Tigers were flagged for pass interference 19 times, 17 of which were accepted. That cost them 207 yards.

Clemson’s defensive backs were also called for seven defensive holding penalties, which cost them 70 yards.

Swinney believes the boxing gloves have led to improvement this year. So far, the numbers back him up. Clemson has been called for just two defensive pass interference penalties this season, both of which came in the first half of the Tigers’ Week 2 game against Auburn.

“We’re going to have some calls along the way but we’ve made improvement,” Swinney said.

The post Clemson football: How the Tiger defensive backs have used boxing gloves to improve in coverage appeared first on Diehards.

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